Kerala pitches for Rs 43,000 Crore semi-high speed corridor between Kasargod and Thiruvananthapuram

The Kerala government has put forward before Railway Board a preliminary project report for setting up a semi high speed rail corridor between Kasargod and Thiruvananthapuram, above the existing rail line.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has put forward before Railway Board a preliminary project report for setting up a semi high speed rail corridor between Kasargod and Thiruvananthapuram, above the existing rail line. By early estimates, this would cost about Rs 43,000 crore. This is likely to be executed by KRDCL (Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd), a joint venture between Kerala government and Indian Railways  on a 51:49 cost-sharing basis, sources in the Kerala government told. The distance between the two stations — Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod — is 560 km, and the current traffic overload on the existing rail track would be eased if the new project is commissioned. Following the discussion between Railway Board chairman Aswani Lohani and Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in October 2017, Lohani had given in-principle clearance to the project.

If the preliminary project report was submitted by December end, it was possible to include it in the pink book (annual plan document of Indian Railway), he had said. Although the State had pitched for high-speed rail corridor, Railway Board had cited technical reasons and agreed to consider semi-high speed rail corridor. KRDCL has put up three options before the Railway Board. One is a parallel double rail track to the existing track. This would cost Rs 23,000 crore. However, because of the severe uneven geography, it is not fully practical to accomplish it.

Second option would be a hybrid skyrail, where the rail track would go parallel to the current track wherever possible and taking a skyrail alignment in the portion, where the terrain makes it tough to build rail tracks. This would cost Rs 43,000 crore. The third option would be to go for a new skyrail. For this, KRDCL would have to acquire land in the new alignment for the road below and doubled rail-track above on pillars. For this, the cost would be Rs.46,000 crore. At present, the odds are for the second option.

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